eTail Europe 2021

London, UK

La Redoute International Uses Instagram at the Heart of Its Digital Strategy

It's hard to imagine a world without social media.

These digital platforms are now so ubiquitous and ingrained in our lives that they have become a subject of academic study and journalistic speculation. Experts continue to explore the long-term health of users and the societal implications of prolonged or excessive use.

However, social media platforms are a fantastic method of communicating with your friends, and the larger world and can provide hours of entertainment for their users. Of course, they also provide fertile ground for tech-savvy businesses to connect with their audiences and promote their products or services.

French fashion retailer, La Redoute recognises this opportunity and is making social media platform, Instagram a cornerstone of its digital marketing campaign.


In recent years, photo sharing app Instagram has transformed from a simple image-based curiosity to one of the most popular social media platforms in the space. In fact, among Millennials, Instagram is the most popular social media platform, even pipping Facebook to the post when this demographic is isolated.

"It's moving very fast," said La Redoute's Head of Social Media, Anna Faure. "Facebook was the main social network and now it's Instagram, and now we have Stories and IGTV. It will continue and as a brand we will need to adapt, and I really believe in advocate marketing and giving more of the voice to the customer."

However, it's still only relatively recently that Instagram has emerged as an effective promotional tool for business - especially if that business operates in an industry which benefits from visual imagery. Industries such as arts and crafts, food, and of course, fashion.

One of Instagram's greatest strengths when it comes to business lies in its potential for user-generated content. Using hashtags, competitions are easy to arrange and can have users doing a lot of the heavy lifting for you to furnish your account with post after post of authentic content from real people.

La Redoute has fully embraced the concept of user-generated content, with its Instagram account proving incredibly popular with its audience. In fact, La Redoute's Instagram has become so popular that one of its products, the Afaw Berber rug, has its own account.

Buy Buttons

One place where social media is yet to find a secure foothold is as a functional ecommerce portal. Customers like to find inspiration for purchases on social media platforms, but rarely complete purchases on them.

"Before launching any campaign, the first step must focus on contextualising the role of social media within the consumer's purchase path," wrote Federico Oliveri when discussing La Redoute's Instagram strategy. "In this regard, recent research helps us. Social media is not yet a direct point of purchase but represents a strategic touchpoint with 42% of users who use it to search for new brands and products. In addition, according to the 2018 Global Consumer Insights study, consumers put social networks first as a primary source of inspiration for purchase. These are very interesting data that must be related to the specificity of Instagram."

Instagram has recently introduced Buy Buttons which allow brands to sell products directly through the app. The feature was initially trialled in the UK last year, with retailer Marks and Spencer being one of the more prominent guinea pigs. Now the Buy Buttons have been rolled out globally, with La Redoute being one of the first French brands to try them out.

Buy Buttons break down the barrier between seeing an inspirational product on Instagram and making that purchase. The more steps there are between seeing a product and acquiring it, the more chances there are for a potential customer to have second thoughts and leave that basket abandoned.

Uptake on the Buy Button feature has been slow so far, however.

"It's not revolutionary right now, people get inspired on social networks and convert in other channels," added Faure. "We post five posts every day and people were saying 'What's the name of the product?' every day. It's not revolutionary for our turnover. It helps, but Instagram is still inspirational. But it is growing fast, and it will be one of the main channels for customers to shop in the future."

Final Thoughts

While sales through the Buy Button feature may not be breaking any records right now, this is likely a consequence of La Redoute being one of the first in its market to use them. Once customers become more familiar with the feature and its use becomes more widespread, we are likely to see more sales completed through platforms such as Instagram.

You can hear La Redoute International's CEO, Michael Truluck, speak at eTail Europe 2019, taking place in June at the QEII Centre, Westminster, London.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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